Walking down the busy market street with a tote bag held tightly in her hand, she noticed all the signs that were familiar, the shops, the hawkers, the kiosks, et al. There was something strange about the crowd though. All were busy in their business of being busy. None of them noticed her or that’s what she felt. ‘Am a ghost already? Dead long back?’, she wondered and pinched herself. It did hurt her but was self-assuring.
A strong gust of wind took her by surprise. The impish blow tried to flirt with her skirt. Joining hands with the strong current, the skirt tried to defy her dignity. As she bent to rein it in, she realized her bandana coming out loose. That was the last thing she wished to have happened to her on a busy street. She had taken great efforts to tie it before stepping out.
The wind was gathering speed, faster than her thoughts and reflex action of holding the bandana in place. Alas, in the battle of managing her skirt and the bandana against the rowdy whiff, she lost the hold of the bandana. It simply flew away. Her attempts to catch hold of it were in vain, though she ran frantically behind it.
Before she could realize, the wind vanished from the scene. As if something has sucked it. As if it never had a footfall just a few moments before. A loud honking sound was rude enough to make her aware that she was standing in the middle of the road. There was traffic right behind her as she stood motionless. All the pairs of eyes were on her. Amusement, pity, sympathy mirrored in them all. Her heart skipped a bit. With her shaking hand, she reached for her forehad, that was dotted with pearls of sweat, when…
…she sat upright in her bed.
“Oh gosh! It was a dream, a bad one”, she reflected to herself, wiping the droplets of the sweat from her forehead. She reached out for the bottle of water and had two sips. For a few minutes she stayed put in the same place with her head held low and shoulders dropped.
“Enough of life dictated by looks”, she confided in herself and got up from the bed. With determined steps she approached the dressing table and closely observed herself as if it was not she but someone else. Moving her hand over her bald head, she said, “I am not what my looks make me. I am what my thoughts are. Alopecia* can’t dictate my life. Time now to define my life, on my own terms and face the world without hiding behind the piece of cloth. Let the fear, fear for self”
She turned around, opened the cupboard and pulled out all the colorful stoles.
“Goodbye”, she said as she packed them all in a bag for donation.
*Alopecia – Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that leads to baldness.
Picture courtesy Pixabay